Caribbean Rhythms
Wednesday, 12 August 2009 at 7:00 pm • Vandusen Botanical Garden

Performers Sal Ferreras percussion, Rich Brown bass, Celso Machado vocals and multi-instrumentalist, Eliot Polsky drums, Chris Gestrin keys, Tom Keenleyside, sax & flute Special Guest Liam Teague, steelpan

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Thank God it didn't rain! And Tamara Taggert was there to assure us that the last two performances of MusicFest at Vandusen on Saturday and Sunday would also be rainless.

But it was an educational expeience as pannist (as these steelpan instrumentalists are called) Liam Teague gave us a brief and articulate lesson on the national musical instrument of Trinidad and Tobago, and I assume, the West Indies -- the steelpan, looking more like a pot than a pan, a percussion instrument, carved from an oil drum. Teague had, a day before, given a workshop about this at the Cathedral venue.

He and the band played his original compositions, "Panoramic", "Chant" (dedicated to his father), "Dougla" (a term used to refer to West Indians of mixed race, dedicating this to his son), "El rio" (The River), and "Hands Like Lightning", the title of his first CD.

I reviewed band leader Ferreras' group at last year's fest. He comes up with different performers each time, and this year, he gave a special treat to percussionist Teague and bassist Brown, being out-of-owners.

And if you like the salsa and Caribbean rhythms which I do, this show was for you. Celso Machado gave a sample again of his vocals, not only singing, but also exuding all kinds of bird animal sounds as he played along, as well as playing his bongo and guitar, with Brazilian beats, to his original compositions Oracao pro Xango (Prayer for Xango), Frevando na rua, a carnival-type of a tune as dancers revel on the streets during carnival time, Bailao de gato (Dance of the cat) and Jabuticaba (a Brazilian fruit resembling a cherry).

The concert ended wth the ever-popular Brazilian Tico-tico, and as usual, the encore, a Charlie Parker jazz composition, "Donna Lee". It was getting chilly, as we started making our way out.

© 2009 Ed Farolan